10 Oldest Universities in Australia

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Oldest Universities in Australia

Do you aspire to be a part of one of Australia’s most prestigious and oldest universities? Australia is a country with around 43 universities, with at least one main campus in each state or territory. For students interested in studying abroad, the nation has traditionally been a top choice. Australia has a lot to offer prospective students intellectually, culturally, and socially, in addition to being a popular holiday destination for millions of tourists. Australia excels not just in terms of being a popular tourist spot, but also in terms of education and research, since it is home to some of the world’s best and oldest universities and research institutions. In this blog, we will be highlighting the 10 oldest universities in Australia.

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Oldest Universities in Australia 

The table below will quickly reveal the 10 oldest universities in Australia and the year they were established.

UniversityTownFounded QR World University Rankings 2024
The University of SydneySydney1850=19
The University of MelbourneMelbourne185314
Federation University AustraliaBallarat 1870
The University of AdelaideAdelaide187489
RMIT UniversityMelbourne1887140
University of TasmaniaHobart 1846=307
Swinburne University of TechnologyHawthorn1908=285
The University of QueenslandSt Lucia 190943
The University of Western AustraliaCrawley191172
University of New England, AustraliaArmidale1996951-1000

Let’s now know about these oldest universities in Australia in more detail:

The University of Sydney 

The University of Sydney was founded in 1850 and is a public non – profitable institution. The institution is in the metropolitan city of Sydney which has a population of 1,000,000-5,000,000 inhabitants. The University of Sydney has a very large enrollment range that is more than 45,000 students in coeducational Australian higher education institutions.

Moreover, it offers popular courses including pre-bachelor degrees such as certificates, diplomas, associates or foundations. Further degrees available are bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and doctorate degrees in different fields of study. International students are also eligible and can apply for enrollment here and it promises students academic as well as non-academic facilities.

Furthermore, the prestigious and one of oldest universities in Australia also holds and offers facilities like libraries, sports aids, scholarships, study abroad and exchange programs, online courses and distance learning opportunities, and administrative services.

Credits: The University of Sydney 

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The University of Melbourne

Founded in 1853, the University of Melbourne (UniMelb) stands as one of the world’s premier universities and one of the oldest academic institutions dedicated to research and higher education. The Walter and Eliza Institute of Medical Research, the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, and other research institutes are located on the campus of Australia’s oldest university. UniMelb provides a plethora of options for its students to research while they are studying here, to encourage them to do so.

Credits: The University of Melbourne

Federation University Australia

Federation University is Australia’s 4th-oldest university education institution, having opened in 1870 during the Victorian gold rush under predecessor institutions. The University of Ballarat and Monash University‘s Gippsland campus merged in 2013, and the university was renamed Federation University in 2014.

This university is one of the oldest universities located in the city of Ballarat, Australia. The other branches of this oldest Australian university are in Berwick, Churchill, Horsham and Brisbane. FedUni offers a plethora of courses in a variety of fields of study. The university is renowned for its research programs, especially in Sports Science research. 

Credits: Federation University Australia

The University of Adelaide

Adelaide University is a major Australian research-intensive university that consistently ranks among the top five universities in the world. Founded in 1874, it is Australia’s third-oldest university, known worldwide for its excellence in teaching and research.

The university provides world-class degrees, cutting-edge research and technology, teamwork, and communication, as well as technology that stimulates critical thinking. The university’s faculties are international leaders and progressive thinkers. The university provides graduate and postgraduate courses in the arts, health sciences, business, social sciences, the environment, and education, as well as great research in a real-world setting.

oldest universities in Australia: The University of Adelaide
Credits: The University of Adelaide

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RMIT University

RMIT University (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) is an Australian research university based in Melbourne. It started off as a night school that offered studies in technology, science, and art. The RMIT campus, another must-see on our list of oldest universities in Australia, boasts a beautiful design featuring a mix of Victorian-era and modern-styled architecture. It offers undergraduate and postgraduate vocational, professional, and applied research programmes.

oldest universities in Australia: RMIT University
Credits: RMIT University

University of Tasmania

The University of Tasmania was established as a public research educational institution towards the end of the 18th century. This institution is Australia’s 4th-oldest university. The university has affiliations with over twenty specialised research institutes, faculty-based research centres, and cooperative research centres, and provides a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in a wide range of fields.

UTAS is now listed among the top ten research universities in the country. The university’s main campus is in the centre of the country, in Hobart, the capital. The university’s second campus, in addition to the main campus, is located in Launceston, a seaside town.

Credits: University of Tasmania

Swinburne University of Technology

The Swinburne University of Technology, formerly known as Eastern Suburbs Technical College, is a leading and one of the oldest universities in Australia that offers degrees in a variety of profitable fields, including aviation, arts, architecture, design, law, and health. Initially, this university focused on plumbing and mechanical instruction and training.

Following World War II, the university’s academic programme began to grow. Chemical engineering, chemistry, computer programming, and cinema and television were among the new programs introduced. It was officially recognised as a university in 1992.

The university now has a number of strong international relationships with prestigious institutions such as IIT Hyderabad and IIT Madras. The Swinburne University of Technology is based in Melbourne, Australia, with three domestic campuses and one foreign campus in Malaysia.

Credits: Swinburne University of Technology

The University of Queensland (UoQ)

The University of Queensland is a public research university in Brisbane that has established itself as a significant contribution to the modern world of education. UoQ has a global reputation for bringing about good change via knowledge leadership for a better world for more than a century.

One typically regards it as one of the greatest universities in Australia in terms of program diversity, student attractiveness, and educational achievement, being one of the oldest. For the February and July intakes, thousands of students apply to the university for future-enabled programmes. Six faculties, eight research institutes which are recognised internationally and research centres, and an interdisciplinary community of 1,500 scientists, social scientists, and engineers make up the institution.

oldest universities in Australia: The University of Queensland
Credits: The University of Queensland

The University of West Australia

The University of Western Australia is regarded as a world-class institution. One of only two Australian universities to be a member of the Worldwide Universities Network. Established in 1911 with a motto of ‘Seek Wisdom’, the University of West Australia is a well-known ‘sandstone university’ that produces leaders in a variety of professions, including government and politics. Bob Hawke, Australia’s 23rd Prime Minister, Robert French, former federal minister Kim Edward Beazley, and a long list of other respected figures are all alumni of this prominent and one of the oldest universities in Australia.

Oldest universities in Australia
Credits: Universities Australia

University of New England Australia

The University of New England was founded in 1938 as New England University College and became an autonomous university in 1954. It is noteworthy that it is an open university and also one of the oldest universities in Australia. The university established its main campus in Armidale, New South Wales, becoming the first university in Australia to do so outside of a state capital city. It today has around 22,300 students seeking higher education.

Armidale’s university campuses are spread around the city. The institution covers 74 hectares of land, with its northern campus located roughly 5 kilometres northwest of the city centre. Several structures on campus are still in use, including the old homestead known as ‘Booloominbah.’ The campus also has top-notch athletic facilities, stores, restaurants, medical facilities, daycare, a post office, and financial services.

Credits: University of New England

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Q1. Which is the oldest university in Australia by foundation year?

Ans. The University of Sydney is the oldest university in Australia. It was founded in 1850 as a public institution of higher education.

Q2. Which is the oldest university in the world?

Ans. The University of Bologna, founded in 1088 and never having been out of operation, holds the title of the world’s oldest university.

Q3. Which is the oldest university in Melbourne, Australia?

Ans. The University of Melbourne is the oldest university in Melbourne and the second-oldest in Australia. In addition, it was established in 1853.

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